Monday, March 29, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
ANOTHER SATISFIED CUSTOMER...
The "walk this way through Intramuros tour was organized and well framed, but I wanted a tour that told of the local history, not a political spin. As a WWII history buff, and an American, I took offense to the "take" the guide had on the start of the Pacific side of WWII. Make no mistake, as you travel about SE Asia, you could spend weeks on tour after tour and read book after book on how the Japanese were out to cause major turmoil in every country they invaded. In Thailand, thousands were killed to acquire a passageway for goods and services, in Singapore, Indonesia and other areas people were killed in vicious ways. None of these countries had much of an American influence, if at all at the time they were attacked. Japan wanted control of most countries in the region, period. The tour guide's take that the Japanese invaded Manila because of their American influence, is nuts! To make the American military look bad in not seeing warning signs and such, we too believe we could have seen Pearl Habor's attack better, but hindsight is always 20/20.
Many Americans died in WWII trying to help other countries. War is hell.
I have been to the area twice now on work trips. I cannot say enough about how nice and caring the local people in Manila treated me. So, this tour does not effect my view on the country or Manila, but I would not suggest attending this tour thinking you are hearing about true history, at least on the WWII topics.
Sally, I remember you. You are the one who insisted upon paying at the middle of the tour and visibly walked out with your daughter. Ah. well, unfortunately, I really do not have the time to defend my opinions about MacArthur's ego and lack of preparedness for a Japanese attack, nor do I need to expound upon the cruelty of the Japanese on Manila's population because of our "western" and "Christian" ways. Filipino survivors of the liberation and any U.S. Military historian can confirm this. So Sally, kindly allow me to suggest that you take your World War 2 buffness to a library or online and perhaps STUDY a little bit more about U.S. involvement in Philippine affairs in the 20th century before you open your mouth, type on a keyboard, nor take offense.
And while you are researching, why not look this up as well, Sally: Philippine American War and 1904 St. Louis World Exposition (Scroll down to "Human Zoo") And once you are done, come back and tell me that the U.S. has always had our best interests in mind.
But having said that, I am also quite glad that you think we are a "nice and caring." people. What a terribly sweet thing for you to say. And I'm looking forward to seeing you at The Imelda Tour as well. We'll talk a little bit about U.S. involvement with the Marcoses and the American military bases of Subic and Clark during the height of the Cold War. I'm sure we'll have a swell chat right afterwards.
Have a good day.
Monday, March 22, 2010
KAPISANAN/THE LIVING ROOM UPDATE...
Thursday, March 18, 2010
SHORT NOTES FROM THE EDGE...
The SEAIR plane that took me to Basco, Batanes. The flight leaves daily at 8:30-ish in the morning and it costs around Php5000.00 ish pesos. If it's full, then there MIGHT be a second flight for the day. It's not as regular as their Manila - Caticlan flights but once again, that ain't the point here.
Coming in for a landing. In fairness, SEAIR's magazine is more than readable. I actually picked up a few travel ideas from it. The flight was quick. So was the magazine. Needless to say, I stole a copy to re-read in case I was bored. Note: Take advantage of the magazine stand at domestic airport if you are a distraction addict. Remember, there is NO wi-fi or 3G in MOST of Batanes. And that is a good thing. Without all the internet buzz, you actually get to know your brain all over again. And I'm glad that in the end, I actually like my brain. Because three days dealing with a brain you don't like might be a problem.
The missus carrying her own luggage. Because that's the way we roll.
This is the Basco Airport (above) Fricking charming. I felt like I was landing at some ski lodge in Aspen. But since I've never been to Aspen, my closest peg would more like: "I felt like I was landing at the golf club of Camp John Hay in Baguio." Which is a pretty good peg for an airport if you really think about it. And don't take too much heed to the rumor that Batanes is inaccessible during rainy season. SEAIR will still fly there everyday if flight conditions allow. Some flights might be cancelled (due to bad weather) but there WILL be a flight at some point. Going to Batanes at around this time (SUMMER), weather is pretty stable. I wouldn't worry about getting stuck and missing work at all if you wanna do a two to three day trip to Batanes this time of year.
This is the runway of the airport (above). There were goats grazing on it. I swear to god, there were. I love that. It seems that Basco is a pretty sleepy town. Batanes is the northernmost, smallest province in the Philippines (219 square kilometers), 75% of the province are farmers, and the total population is a bit under 16,000 people. 16,000.00 people! There are more people inside Megamall at any given time than Batanes. And as I said, be prepared to get your brain in touch with the land and it's people. AGAIN. There is NO wi-fi in most places and even Smart Bro/Tattoo doesn't work too well outside of Basco town center. And in the outlying islands like Sabtang and Itbayat, forget it. There isn't even cellphone signal. And be reminded, this is a GOOD thing. If you are the kind of traveller who wants cable TV, convenience stores, and stuff, Forget it. Luzon is right next door. Kinda.
After a little bit of early morning drama, I finally checked into my hotel, The Fundacion Pacita Abad. The only game in town, really. Take a look at their ubercute Check in Office (above). Truth be told, there was a bit of a misunderstanding regarding transportation to our hotel accomodations, missing our city tour and stuff but in the end, I realized that it was just me expecting Batanes to act more like Manila. After a kick in the ass from my wife, I eventually snapped out of Manila mode. I was in the "now".
Batanes. Please take over my brain.
But first some gratuitous shots of the beautiful hotel Fundacion Pacita Abad. Seriously one of the most beautiful hotels in The Philippines. Check out the view from the path between the Fundacion Pacita Abad and my villa (above). There are no bad angles to Batanes. Furthermore, there are no bad angles to the FPA as well.
Gratuitous self Portrait (above). And believe it or not, it was only late in the game that I associated the artist Pacita Abad = Butch Abad = Liberal Party = Noynoy. Eeps. I'm in Noynoy-ville. I shoulda gotten clued in by the yellow baller bands on all the staff. Needless to say, to be courteous, I took off my green shirt and baller upon meeting Dina, his wife. No politicking here. No point. It's a yellow hotel. Hee hee.
Kinda. Our villa's walls were green. I wonder if they knew I was coming. Aw. Thanks guys. By the way, Dina Abad is running for Congress up there. VOTE FOR DINA ABAD, OK?
Moving on. A better view of Fundacion Pacita Abad - without my ugly mug in the Gibo shirt blocking the view (above).
Our balcony overlooking the cliffs and the ocean. Seriously, this hotel is mad beautiful. It makes you wanna scream. It's like ugly was banned from the FPA.
The hotel lobby (above) and "Great Room". Everything here is dedicated to the amazing Filipino American painter Pacita Abad. Born in Batanes, Trained in Corcoran, Washington DC and the Art Students League in New York City, the FPA is a reflection of this woman's work, career, and capacity to connect cultures from the U.S. to the Philippines. Somehow, everything reminded me of my days in college at RISD. Even the lighting, the arrangement of furniture (of which they built mostly themselves in-house at FPA), screamed of U.S./Philippine art institution tastefulness. The place was so interesting that we ended up just taking a short trip into town to light candles at the Santo Domingo de Basco Church (YES. I know I'm a pseudo free-thinking self proclaimed agnostic, but some Catholic rituals I find to charming to give up), before heading back to stay in, drink wine, and read up about her life.
Read about the life and career of Pacita Abad, which is both amazing and tragic. Click on the link here.)
The table in the FPA "Great Room" that would prove to be Tesa and my favorite spot throughout our stay. Right outside the window is a cliff dropping directly into a stormy sea.
The walkway to our villa.
Our candle-lit dinner. Nice. A totally Fil-American friendship type menu Pasta, Bagoong salad with ferns, Fried Chicken, Mushroom Soup. Dessert was Tiramisu if I remember correctly. Coffee was brewed.
The desk in my room overlooking the night sky. I would have sat down here and updated my blog and status, but fortunately, as i said twice before, wi-fi is very hard to come by in Batanes. I was asleep before ten.
And that is a very very good thing.
Tomorrow, Day two and a trip back in time.
CARLOS REALLY RECOMMENDS!
Oh you ARE going. Very good.
You didn't seem like the loser type.
Log on to www.sea-expo.com here.
Labels: carlos recommends
Monday, March 15, 2010
Labels: carlos recommends
I really heart Purple Oven. Thank you so much for the amazing Chocolate Cake. What a surprise. Seriously, you didn't have to!! But either way, I, my tummy and my neighbors at North Syquia (well, specifically one neighbor) - are so glad that you did.
If you don't know Purple Oven, they are a Pasig based bakery and they rock. Love these guys. They don't scrimp and they are nice enough to their staff to bring them all on my walking tours for team building. Now that's a bakery with heart.
Purple Oven is at 63 Saint Peter Street, Oranbo, Pasig. Near the Valle Verde Country Club. You can call them at 6314221.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
WHEE! WHEE! WHEE!
SCENES FROM THE TRANSITION...
MANILA TRANSITIO 1945
Last February 27 was a night for remembering the Manila that was and looking forward to the Manila that will be. This video says it all. Thanks Tourism Paradise Philippines for recording this.
Hope to see you all at Fort Santiago again on February 26, 2011 to remember the destruction of Intramuros during the Battle of Manila in 1945.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
NOLI THEM TANGERE...
And then we came up with the idea of having the FRENZY Lick ladies forego their usual sexy smocks and don traditional 19th century Baro't Sayas. And if we must say so ourselves, it was a stroke of genius. empowered Maria Claras giving out condoms as we commemorate the city of our affections. It's the best of the genteel Manila that was and a glimpse into the progressive Manila that will be.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU!